Dear Friends and Digital Health Affiliates focused on China,

With this new bi-weekly newsletter, we want to bring the latest and exciting innovation digital health trends from China to you. We invite you to partially shift perspectives from Silicon Valley to Shenzhen/ Beijing and engage with a USD 1.2 tn healthcare market.

1 The Digital Health Silk Road Project

The initiative Silk Road aims to strengthen infrastructure, trade, and investment links between China and some 65 other countries that account collectively for over 30 percent of global GDP, 62 percent of population, and 75 percent of known energy reserves. Despite the focus primarily on infrastructure, global health issue becomes imminent that the Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) is serving as platform to address regional epidemic emergencies through prevention, intervention and training. Companies in AI imaging (e.g. Huiyihuiying) and telemedicine consultation services (e.g. Ping An Good Doctor) expand rapidly along the BRI.

Cited Companies in this article:

  • Ping An Good Doctor – Telemedicine platform, Total Funding: USD 900 mn (Crunchbase)
  • Jianke.com B2C drug delivery, Total Funding: USD 280 mn (Crunchbase)
  • Huiyihuiying – AI imaging, Total Funding: USD 50mn (Crunchbase)

2 China‘s new legal framework will be a magnet for global pharmaceuticals

China is the 2nd biggest healthcare market with USD 1tn size and by 2050, 80% of all elderly people will be Chinese. Lack of regulation transparency, enforcement and IP protection were the main reasons of high failure rate of foreign firms. This is changing in favor of Western companies, an improved legal infrastructure enabling foreign companies to uphold their IP in specialist courts. In 2017, the National Medical Products Administration joined the International Council for Harmonisation of technical requirements for pharmaceuticals for human use. This was widely considered a significant step towards accelerating the drug approvals time.

Cited Companies in this article:

  • Airdoc – software provider for AI-based diagnosis: Funding Stage: Series B (Crunchbase)

3 Merck KGaA’s alliances with Chinese internet giant Tencent and Alibaba Health

Merck is addressing the chronic diseases, raising awareness of allergic disorders and improve treatment compliance for allergy sufferers. In China, Merck teamed up with Tencent and Alibaba to reach consumers/patients more effectively (e.g. through WeChat) and therefore provide better healthcare solutions. Merck wants to provide Chinese patients and their families with improved access to patient-centric healthcare services. Focus areas of the partnership are:

  • drug track-and-trace
  • internet health services
  • pharmaceutical e-commerce
  • artificial intelligence

Cited Companies in this article:

  • Alibaba – Enable businesses to transform the way they market, sell, operate and improve their efficiencies – Revenue 2018: USD 39.9bn (Statista.com)
  • Tencent – Internet service portal offering value-added internet, mobile, telecom, and online advertising services – Revenue 2018: USD 47.3bn (Statista.com)

We hope this short overview gives you a better understanding, what is going on in China and looking forward to your feedback.

Godspeed & 祝大家成功,!

Chenchao Liu & Min-Sung Sean Kim

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